Miss T’s parents very kindly took me shopping this evening. When I got in the car, Miss T’s mother asked me if I’d like a Christmas pudding. ‘No’, I said. ‘I’d better throw it away, then’, she replied. Further conversation revealed that the pudding was one of those complicated sort of presents which you get when you permit your manipulative, strongwilled and managing old Ma to visit before Christmas — no member of the family has EVER liked Christmas pudding, so it can only be thought of, really, as a gift bought for the sole purpose of causing a row. ‘No, I’ll take it’, I said, since waste is wicked and I had had an idea. What is a Christmas pudding after all, but a conglomerate of suet, fruit, breadcrumbs and sugar? Thus no good to man nor beast, especially the Professor, but potentially very good indeed for tiny birds trying to stay alive in the cruel cold. I had some courgettes which had come in a sort of net bag, and when I got back, I carefully removed the courgettes from the bag without damaging it, inserted the pudding, tied a knot in the top of the bag, and hung it off a meat-hook on my bird-feeding tree. It may have functioned only as a Pudding of Discord up to this point, but I think the blue-tits will be more than happy with it. It’s four below and the heating’s stopped working again. The problem is with fuel supply, so I think that once again something has frozen in the outside pipework.